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Opinion What $50 billion in taxpayer aid for airlines did not fix

Domestic airlines are on track to be 150 million “enplanements” behind 2019 this year, according to one estimate. Bill Saporito: The industry had the opportunity to restructure itself during the pandemic, using some of the $50 billion of taxpayer money that 10 airlines got from Uncle Sam. If you like new jets, this is your summer to fly, he says, but new jets are more about making the economics more comfortable, not you. The industry has known for nearly a decade, when 1,500 hours became the minimum federal requirement to sit in the pilot’s chair, that it needed to train more people to fly airplanes. This is not a surprise. North America is projected to be short over 12,000 pilots by the end of

In most consumer businesses, innovation normally improves the customers’ lives. In the airline business, innovation often means something else. North American carriers should make a combined $8.8 billion in profit this year, according to the ITA. Taxpayers paid $50 billion during the pandemic to keep airlines afloat.